July 24, 2014

Posts on IOUSA

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Monday, April 20, 2009 - 12:45 PM

In line with the trend of civic-engagement and activism among youth, students at The University of Pennsylvania are gearing up for a federal finance awareness week to bring focus to our ever deepening fiscal hole. This isn't the first time we've seen motivated students who understand the stakes, impress their peers and silence the skeptics, but this is the latest example of why I'm proud to work with my generation.  

After being inspired during a class conducted in collaboration with the Concord Coalition, and with some motivating outrage from what they discovered about the country's fiscal affairs, a group of students went above and beyond the call of duty and academics to start a student group and website called Pound-It.org.

Further proving that there is more to their industry and ambition than getting a good grade, these students have kept their momentum and work ethic going, even after receiving their A's, and are planning a week-long celebration of their commitment to educating their peers about fiscal responsibility.

This outreach campaign will include flyering the campus, 550 twenty billion dollar bills (representing our debt) on the college green, as well as speaking events and a public screening of I.O.U.S.A.

The following events are open...

Thursday, January 22, 2009 - 6:27 PM

Although I.O.U.S.A. was not graced with the honor of an Oscar nomination this morning, the movie's power and message is undeniable. The filmmakers did a great service to the issue of fiscal responsibility and the country's dialogue about generational stewardship. 

This was eloquently brought home to me in a letter I recently received from one of my Midwestern volunteers. Strong in her Christian faith, she was instrumental in bringing a screening of the documentary "I.O.U.S.A." to her church in order to encourage others to see the parallels between Christian values and the stewardship practices needed now to ensure a good quality of life for future generations.

She starts out with a quote from Martin Luther King:

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

And continues:

"A diverse group of people at our church gathered expectantly one Sunday afternoon. We shared a potluck meal together and then shared the challenging film, I.O.U.S.A.. I thought I knew what to expect, but there was so much I was unaware of about our economy and how we got to where we are now. I was stunned...

Friday, January 9, 2009 - 4:36 PM

Fresh off its appearance as one of five documentaries competing for a Critics Choice Award last night, I.O.U.S.A. will air on CNN two times this weekend.

Accompanying clips of the film will be a panel of experts discussing the movie in greater detail as well as its relevance to the current economic crisis. The event will be moderated by Ali Velshi and Christine Romans, hosts of "Your $$$$$." The panel guests will include Concord Coalition President Peter Peterson, former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, former Office of Management and Budget Director Alice Rivlin, and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. 

The program will be shown Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 2:00 PM EST and Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 3:00 PM EST.

For those of you whose football team missed the NFL playoffs (like my Tampa Bay Bucs) and enjoy winners (like my Florida Gators and this documentary film), this should be worthwhile television.

--Josh Gordon

Monday, November 10, 2008 - 11:33 AM

In the movie I.O.U.S.A., Warren Buffett affectionately labeled China “Thriftsville” in his parable about the dangers of the United States over-consuming and relying on foreign production and lending. The movie also introduced us to a young Chinese couple, who met each other while working in a light bulb factory. This couple boasts that "saving money is a Chinese tradition," and they save half of the $20-a-day they earn.

The problem is, in an economic downturn, increased saving can harm short-term economic activity. So, from the front page of the print edition of today’s Washington Post, we learn that China is apparently now pursuing more than half a trillion dollars in fiscal stimulus (emphasis added):

China on Sunday night announced an aggressive $586 billion economic stimulus package, the largest in the country’s history, at a time when it is struggling with increasing social unrest due to factory closings and rising unemployment.

In a wide-ranging plan that economists are comparing to the New Deal, the government said it would ease credit restrictions, expand social welfare services and launch an...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 - 12:47 PM

On Thursday, October 23rd, I spent the day at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado (elevation 6,872 feet). The college is located about 25 miles north of the New Mexico and Colorado border and it is really one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

My day was packed! I had an 8:00 a.m. presentation, a radio interview on KDUR, lunch and dinner discussions with students (who were all exceptionally bright), an afternoon presentation, and finally a screening of I.O.U.S.A.. My guides at the "Fort" were Professors Jennifer Stollman and John Gadbois.

The theme for the day was fiscal literacy. Both Professors Stollman and Gadbois are concerned that students are not being exposed to the implications of the long-term challenges our nation faces and that younger people are not being given the skills to be literate about fiscal issues. The professors had already traveled to Washington, D.C. for a presentation by Concord Chief Economist Diane Lim Rogersand the Heritage Foundation's Stuart Butler, and have been encouraged to focus on fiscal education by Acting President and Provostfor Fort Lewis College, Steve Roderick. I was thrilled that Provost Roderick joined us at most of the day's events.

During my morning presentation, I discussed the basics of the federal budget, the long-term challenges...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - 11:37 AM

Many of our reports from the field over the next few weeks will be about screenings we are doing all over the country for I.O.U.S.A.. The primary idea behind the screenings is to reach colleges who weren't in session when the film was originally released and other locations where the movie hasn't been able to show.

Sunday night's screening of I.O.U.S.A. at Columbia University is a great example of why I love my job. The Conservative Forum packed almost 75 people into a basement to watch the movie on a pull-down projector screen. The audience was hooked, and I had to laugh as they stood up and swayed in their seats to read a subtitle or name at the bottom of the screen (we weren't able to swing stadium seating rental in the basement).

At the end of the film people got ready to leave, but when we announced that the director, Patrick Creadon, was there to answer questions, most stayed. After a good Q&A session, Patrick sat down with a pen and a stack of I.O.U.S.A. posters. About 20 people lined up to get his autograph and gush about the film. I even had a number of people come up and ask how they can set up more screenings A.S.A.P.!  

As if the night wasn't already a huge success, I had arranged to meet with a group of dedicated New York City Concord Coalition volunteers after the...

Sunday, October 26, 2008 - 8:20 PM

Greetings from Atlanta! On Thursday (October 23) Executive Director Bob Bixby came to Georgia for a screening of I.O.U.S.A. on the campus of Emory University and a media interview with the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Many senior faculty and staff attended along with a great crowd of concerned students. Dr. Kenneth Thorpe was on hand and complimented the educational work of Concord and the movie. Dr. Thorpe is a well-known expert on health care policy and has gone back and forth working in academia and the federal government for years in several high-ranking positions.

For those of you who have seen the movie, you know the old soft drink Tab plays a bit role. So Bob, along with his beloved can of Tab, took questions from the audience (you can only imagine how many times we've heard jokes about "picking up the Tab" in relation to the national debt.. I've been as guilty as anyone). Since Atlanta is the home of Coca Cola (the creator of Tab), we have a surplus of the diet drink here!

Questions ranged from the serious and thoughtful to downright funny. One student asked if he and others who had foreign language skills should just uproot and move to another country!  Bob responded that we needed him to stay here because otherwise it would be one less...

Monday, October 20, 2008 - 10:29 PM

Executive Director Bob Bixby is quoted in a good article on Time Magazine's web site about the growing budget deficit, where he argues that the rising deficit, and some of the most recent policy actions that have contributed to it, are "necessary evils" to keep the economy afloat as long as the actions are targeted and temporary.

What also stuck out, was the nice picture of the National Debt Clock in Times Square (probably the most famous "tabulation" related to Concord's mission). You can see more about the debt clock, and the family behind it, in the movie I.O.U.S.A.. The picture however, shows something you won't see in the movie. Since filming, the national debt has moved from $8.6 trillion to over $10 trillion, meaning they had to paint a dollar sign onto the clock to make room for the 14th digit. There is always hope though, this debt clock does have the capability to go backwards (the one in use in the 1980's and 1990's did not). Let's hope we can test that ability out someday.

--Josh Gordon

Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 12:33 PM

As I mentioned in our introductory post, The Concord Coalition is prominently featured in the documentary film, I.O.U.S.A.. One of the things that has struck me as the movie has gotten a lot of press is how eloquent the filmmaking team has become when talking about fiscal issues. These are individuals who had no real connection to fiscal policy or economics before they started making the movie and are now not just amazingly fluent in the policy details, but also incredibly passionate advocates for the cause of fiscal responsibility. You can read film director Patrick Creadon's thoughts on their journey in his guest post on EconomistMom.

--Josh Gordon